USA v Portugal - Match Preview: Ronaldo injury scare

Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo will hope his knee injury will not hamper his performance in a must-win match against USA on Sunday.

To be played on Sunday 22nd June 2014 at 23:00. Venue: Arena Amazonia, Manaus.

Odds: USA 7/2, Draw 14/5, Portugal 8/11

Preview & injury news

Cristiano Ronaldo, the 2013 Ballon d'or winner, is believed to be starting Portugal's must-win match against the United States in Manaus on Sunday, despite nursing a knee injury. Should Portugal lose this match, they will be out of the World Cup and therefore they are forced to play Ronaldo, despite the Real Madrid winger not being 100% fit.

Ronaldo's Real and Portugal teammates Pepe and Fabio Coentrao will definitley miss the match as Pepe is suspended after his red card against Germany and Coentrao is out for the rest of the tournament because of a groin injury.

USA will be going into this match full of confidence after their last-minute winner against Ghana, and know if they win they all but seal qualification to the last 16. Sunderland striker is their only player unavailable for this match due to a hamstring injury he picked up in the first half of the Ghana match. 

Jurgen Klinsman has already led a country to beat Portugal in the World Cup; in 2006 he guided his native Germany to a 3-1 win over Portugal in the third-place play-off. He will be desperate to do the same on Sunday, a match that will have a big say on how far these two countries go in this year's tournament.   

Key stats

The USA have only kept two clean sheets in their last 24 games at the World Cup.

Portugal have only won one of their last eight games at the World Cup (7-0 v North Korea in 2010), drawing three and losing four.

The USA have scored in seven successive World Cup games and could now equal their association record (8, 1930 - 1990).

Five players to watch

Cristiano Ronaldo - It would be pointless to not include Ronaldo in a list of players to watch for a match, especially in a World Cup encounter that is vital for his side's hopes of progressing into the knockout stages.

He failed to play to his best against Germany, and therefore so did his country, and he will need to be at his machine-like best tonight if Portugal are going to succeed.

Clint Dempsey - The former Fulham and Tottenham midfielder is superb when it comes to playing for his country. It took him less than a minute to score against Ghana in his opening match with a lovely left-footed finish.

He did however fade as the match wore on, and he will have to lead the line tonight for the States with pace and movement.

Raul Meireles - He certainly has the tattoo's and hair cut to stamp his authority on any midfield, but his style of play is not normally as eye-catching as his fashion sense.

He has the ability to do everything in midfield and Portugal will hope he will be at his fierce best to get in the faces of the American play. If he can do that, Portugal will feel very confident about their chances. 

Jermaine Jones - His energy in the win over Ghana was outstanding. USA's midfield look to him for being the man that gets in the faces of the opposition, so expect tackles flying in from Jones. Klinsman will be hoping his aggression and energy is a positive for his side.

Bruno Alves - The centre-back lost his defensive partner, Pepe, during the first match against Germany. As a result, he struggled to cope with the movement and trickery of Thomas Muller.

This time he is facing the more robust ability of Dempsey, a very different challenge for the centre-back. He will have to take on the role of Portugal's defensive leader in the Manaus heat.

Last time they met

USA 3-2 Portugal, Suwon - South Korea, June 2002.

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